Continued from “Moms with muscle”
Natural bodybuilding’s “moms with muscle” are moms just like every other mom, but it can be challenging to juggle a career and family with a demanding sport like bodybuilding. Yet these moms have found a way to balance their lives in such a way to make natural bodybuilding a lifestyle for the whole family – not just a sport.
For several years, IFPA pro Kristin Fonseca and her husband, Arnie, were struggling musicians working in the Boston area, mostly the College Circuit around Boston and the South Shore. They also worked on their own original material in the Kristin Fonseca Band and even released a self-titled CD in 2005 hoping for rock stardom only to find out the hard way that it is not so easy. “Two years ago we decided life was too short to be working all week at day jobs to pay our bills and working every Friday and Saturday night too,” recalls Kristin. “Now we laugh when we go to bed at 9:00 on a weekend night after years of staying up until the early morning hours.”
The nightlife took its toll on Kristin with the obligatory social drinking that is so much a part of a musician’s lifestyle. “I quit drinking for over a year and lost 30 pounds without all those empty calories and totally reshaped my body for my first contest,” says Kristin, a full-time music teacher for the local school district . “I know that for some people, dieting for a contest affects their mood and tolerance level,” she says, “but, if anything, I’m probably more pleasant to be around for my family than before because I’m not hung over from the night before. I have more energy, and I’m happy with myself.”
A stay-at-home mom, WNBF pro Toni West finds that her parenting and family time have been minimally affected. “I revolve my workout around nursery hours at the gym, where she is more than happy to play with the other kids and do the projects of the day. We eat as a family together every night, and only when it is close to another show do I run out after bath time for another cardio session. Still, trying to not feel guilty for taking time to myself is hard,” she says.
“I always feel a great sense of accomplishment when I walk on stage, having worked so hard to be at my best, and realizing that I am taking fitness to the next level. I have not sacrificed my health, my family time, or anything else. It only feels overwhelming during the hard weeks leading up to a contest. In the end, healthy living is something that I am instilling in my children and family, and setting an example for others that it CAN be done,” she adds.
Herculiza’s parenting responsibilities quadrupled overnight with the merging of husband Patrick’s family in 2008. A working mom with a Masters Degree in Medicine from Emory University, Liza works as a Physician’s Assistant specializing in pain management, but her family knows that her zest for life extends beyond her work and beyond the stage. The “Herc” is an avid scuba enthusiast, enjoys making silver and gemstone bead jewelry, is a whitewater adrenaline junkie, loves to travel to exotic places, and loves seeing the world from the back of her Harley. And, guess what? The whole family gets to share in the adventure.
“As a child, I used to cry (alone, later) when my parents’ friends would pat me on the head and say, ‘she’s built like a real little locomotive, isn’t she!?!’ In ballet I wanted to look like a gazelle, but usually ended up playing the male role lifting the other girls over my head since we were short of boys in our little local ballet company. I felt more like a rhino,” says Liza. “I know, first-hand, how seemingly harmless statements by adults about a child’s physicality can affect youngsters, and I think bodybuilding has given me a better sense of self to make me a better parent.”
Perhaps Patrick explains best how “mom’s” bodybuilding impacts the family from a different perspective. “It IS tough on the whole family when Mom has to give two hours a day to her workout, BUT,” he says, “it is also a good lesson for the kids who learn discipline, goal setting, and commitment.”
“I think bodybuilding has influenced my parenting in a very positive way,” says WNBF figure pro Niki DelGrosso , a gym owner with a Masters Degree in Nutrition. “I see how one’s body image could be affected by the judgment of others, and I think this helps me to understand what kids go through, at all stages of growth and development.”
“Balance is the key,” says Kristin. “You can do it all if you do it the right way. I prepare my own meals as well as my families favorite meals whether I’m competition dieting or not. We still go out and lead normal social lives. I keep junk food in my house and do not preach to them about it. There are many things that I eat that they also love to eat. I enjoy cooking and make them individual meals and freeze them as well.”
Toni agrees. “There is always a way to make time for your health by eating healthy, lifting weights, and doing cardio while balancing family time,” she says. “You have to plan ahead, prepare your foods, always have a back-up plan, and remember that family should come first. If your little one is sick for a day or two, you adjust the rest of your workouts for the week or figure out how to manage differently with an in-home workout. The most important thing to remember is that there is ALWAYS another show, next week, next month, next year, but there may only be a once-in-a-lifetime moment with your family. Find that balance and create the best for everyone.”
“You can definitely do it, no matter what anyone says,” says Niki to aspiring young bodybuilding and figure competitors. “Women are often afraid of the effect that training/dieting will have on their body, but I worked out throughout my entire TRIPLET pregnancy and breastfed until they were 10 months old! You can do whatever you put your mind to- the human body is an amazing thing and kids are so wonderful. I never thought I could love anything so much in life as I do my children.”